| 23. July 2021

Na’Vi Bench Their Entire Roster

After the departure of SoNNeikO, which happened less than 2 weeks ago, Na’Vi seemed to be taking its time to find a proper replacement. After all, the 24-year-old CIS legend is an exceptional captain and his skills are not exactly easy to replace. But instead of taking this approach, the organization decided to pull off one of its standard moves and simply benched the entire roster.

How Did It Come To This

The story of this iteration of Na’Vi begins on September 18th, 2020. On that date, the management of the team decided to change their entire roster and sign a different one. And since FlyToMoon had an excellent lineup, they simply bought the whole crew. Initially, they did a trial and after three months, FlyToMoon effectively changed its name to Natus Vincere. And for a while, everything looked great.

Na’Vi finished 4th at OGA Dota PIT S3, 2nd at ESL One Germany 2020, 1st at OG Dota PIT S4, and 2nd in Eastern Europe’s Upper Division for DPC 2021 Season 1. But that’s when everything stopped. The team should have participated in the first Major of the season. And for reasons I won’t go into now, they didn’t. The players clearly lost motivation and everything collapsed.

In Season 2 of DPC 2021, Na’Vi finished 6th in the Upper Division, barely maintaining its spot. Needless to say, it missed the 2nd Major and as a result, was forced to compete in the qualifiers for The International 10. And the result was awful: 5th – 6th, when they would have needed a victory. The teams that defeated them were HellRaisers and Team Empire. The latter almost won the entire event.

One thing that I forgot to mention is that Na’Vi changed no less than 3 players during this time. Of the initial FlyToMoon roster, only RodjER and V-Tune survived.

Why Na’Vi Can’t Afford To Look Weak

Na’Vi was the winner of the first edition of The International. It was also the Grand Finalist of the first 3 editions. On top of that, the organization is currently the best in the world in CS:GO, an esport where they have a formidable roster and the strongest player in the history of the game.

With these kinds of results, the team’s inability to secure at least a qualification to The International 10, an event that offers $40 million in prizes and has 18 participants, is a complete disgrace.

Part of Na’Vi’s failure comes from the fact that they keep recycling the same old players. There’s nothing new on the horizon, apart from CIS veterans. Europeans can’t be signed because of the language barrier and the regional youth can’t seem to compete against the likes of No[o]ne and RAMZES, who won numerous Majors together.

A Lack Of Motivation

Given the past achievements of players like RodjER and SoNNeikO, it’s clear that the main problem is motivation. And perhaps synergy too, but I’d say that motivation is the number one problem. The online era that started 18 months ago has clearly had a massive impact on the players’ training routines. Nobody seems to care anymore, at least in this region. Even are a shadow of their former selves.

If the CIS region manages to find its will to be exceptional again, then I’m sure we’ll see the likes of Na’Vi return to where they once stood. But if it doesn’t, it will likely be surpassed even by Southeast Asia, which now has a team (T1) that could potentially win TI 10.